Serendipity is Sold!

Friday May 29, 2015

Serendipity Sold

Wow, that has to be one of the shortest boat sales in history.  But Serendipity is now sold!  Six days from the time we first put her on the market to when we accepted an offer.  Ten days until payment was made and papers have been signed.

The amount of interest we’ve had on her ever since we listed her (even a little bit before, really) has been nothing short of baffling. When we published the post on the blog that she was now available and also linked to it on Facebook, emails with inquiries began flooding through our mailbox within hours and even the following day there were a few people that had started booking plane tickets down to Florida to come see her in person.

Much of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent solely on our computers, responding to to the many request for information, answering detailed questions about the boat, and snapping a few more photos of specific areas in question (i.e. thing that may have to be replaced in the next few years).  I have to admit, not only was it such a sense of accomplishment that we finally had Serendipity listed and it therefore meant that we had finished all our projects on her, but being given access to sit on my computer all day in our air conditioned boat (did I mention we broke down and bought a window A/C unit?) was soooo nice after this last push of work.  It’s funny though how we always want what we can’t have.  Two solid days in front of my computer and I was begging for boat work again.

It did take a few days to get things rolling on showing the boat in person, but this week was supposed to be full of visitors to take a gander at the ‘Dip to see if they wanted to take her off our hands.  We did have a few cases of ‘I’ll be out to look at her tomorrow’ followed by a message at 10 pm of ‘Ooops, I’m going to have to reschedule’, which means we’d spend a good part of the afternoon getting her in ‘show shape’ only to have nothing come of it.  Which was ok, I guess, since it meant less spot cleaning the next day as long as we could the areas mostly polished.

On Memorial Day we did two back to back showings. As usual the morning was a bit crazy with the both of us running around as if we were presenting our boat to the queen, and taking away any unsightly reminders that this boat was lived in and sometimes we could not find the picture perfect place for everything.

“What do I do with the bread? Normally we keep it out on the shelf next to the microwave, but we can’t show the boat with our bread sitting out!!”

“Throw it in the van!”

“What about Mazzii?  Do you think it will put anyone off that we keep the cremated remains of our dog in the vanity?”

“Throw it in the van!”

And so it went for a solid three hours.  The showings were great though, both parties looked to be interested and asked a lot of questions.  The first person we knew was looking at multiple boats in the area and that Serendipity would probably be at the top of their price range if they were seriously interested.  The second person however lived just on the other side of Florida near Fort Meyers, and at the moment we were the only boat on his list.  He came, he looked, we chatted about everything under the sun, and he told us he would be putting down an offer, which we requested be in writing.

Well the next day we did get an offer, along with the request that we deliver the boat to Charlotte Harbor (a free delivery being one of the bargaining chips we were using to try and sell her quickly), and after a few emails back and forth we accepted.  The money was wired today and now Serendipity is sold.

I still can’t believe how quickly it has all gone by. One minute we were getting ready to sell her, with doubts in our mind if it was the right thing to do, and the next minute she’s already on her way out.  I guess the fates have decided, and it’s that they want us to move onto a new boat.  We’re very excited for our new adventure but at the same time we’ll be incredibly sad to see Serendipity go.  For the last three years now she has been our home, our crusader, and our one sense of stability no matter where we go.

But, what’s done is done.  On to bigger and better things.  Not that we won’t always have the fondest place for the ‘Dip in our hearts.  We’ll always have the memories of her, and even though there were times we’d curse her and threaten to burn her down, that was just our adjusting to an unfamiliar life.  She really is the best boat anyone could ever ask for and I know her new owner will love her just as much as we do.

 

(* I dedicate this post to Ric, whom I know is so very excited to read that we have sold Serendipity)

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Guess Who Just Got Back Today?

Tuesday May 26, 2015

Sailing Conductors - Marianne

The boys are back in town!  Maybe they didn’t just get back today, per se, it was more like Saturday, but I’ve got to start condensing my posts so this is what you’re left with. Anyway, The Sailing Conductors (and Jack Mantis) are back in Indiantown!

After touring the US and Canada in their magic bus for the last five weeks they have made their way back to Marianne who has been so patiently waiting for them in storage.  I think she was beginning to feel neglected next to the bus, but she has been receiving nothing but love and care from the guys this week and now has no reason to complain. After hitting up cities like New Orleans, Chicago, DC, and playing shows in Nashville, Toronto, and NYC, Ben and Hannes ended their tour and we finally got our work yard buddies back.

Their stay here will be incredibly short since they have a weather window to begin their trek back to Germany which is all ready to come and go on them, and are trying to get Marianne back in the water as close to June 1st as possible.  From there they will make a stop in Bermuda if the mood suits, otherwise head straight for the Azores as their first stop.

To say I will miss them will be a huge understatement as we did spend almost every day together for a month, and having them gone on their road trip while I had to look over at the empty space next to us in the yard has been hard enough.  But while they are here we’re going to enjoy as much time together as possible.  To celebrate their first night back we had a braii at the patio which turned into us smushing as many tables as we could fit together in the kitchen since the mosquitoes are still out in full force and none of us could stand to be outside. When they go after Matt alone, it’s normal.  When they begin going after everyone in the party?  Time to move inside.

A new couple in the work yard that we’ve made friends with, Mark and Hanna, were there to honor the occasion as well and Hanna’s German came in handy as I’m sure the guys missed having someone new to speak their native tongue with. When the dishes were all cleared away it didn’t it didn’t take us long to force the guys to bring their instruments out and once again we were delighted with a live performance of Jack’s guitar and Ben’s cello.  I have so much fun with these guys, even just working on boat projects, but I think listening to their music is going to be one of the things I’ll miss the most once they are gone for good. patio at Indiantown Marina

dinner with the Sailing Conductors

Jack playing guitar

Since Matt and I have a boat we’re in the middle of trying to sell and the guys have a boat with a million and one projects that need to be finished in about a weeks time, we haven’t been able to spend as much of our time together as we did before.  One event we could not miss out on though was the final painting of the magic bus. If you don’t remember me mentioning it before, Jack is a well known graffiti artist in South Africa and it turns out his good buddy Seemsoe that has joined in the last week of their journey is pretty well known for the same thing in Germany.

Although Jack had taken over one side of the bus while hanging out in Brooklyn, painting his signature on one side, a group of hippies had taken over the other and left a paint job with a lot to be desired.  Since the guys are hoping to sell the bus before they make their way out of the US, this needed to change.

Wandering over after the sun had gone down and all of the yard staff left for the day, we walked up to find a wet bar set up with scrap pieces of wood, spray paint bottles scattered between ones of gin and tonic. Jack and Seemsoe were already busy choosing colors and getting Seemsoe’s name ready to go on the other side of Jack’s.

Over the next few hours the rest of our gang sat back and watched as the one side of the bus was transformed from something that was incredibly tacky into something that was incredibly amazing.  Things that you wouldn’t think would go together suddenly worked, and Jack also had some bright ideas (literally) up his sleeve, transforming the turn signal into one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen.

It was a great night among friends and really one of the first opportunities I’ve had to really catch up with the guys since they’ve been back. We all had fun hanging out once more and in the process, revamping their ride into something that will sell.  Which at the end of the night gave them a sudden change of heart and they decided that after all this they couldn’t let her go and they’re going to try and get their production company to ship her over to Germany so they can bring her on tour when they get back this fall.  So if you’re on the roads in Berlin later this year and you see this hot ride passing by, make sure to give them a honk and a wave for me.

Seemsoe painting.

Jack Mantis painting

Jack & Seemsoe painting

lighthouse blinker

the Indiantown gang

Seemsoe, Jess, & Jack

 

 

 

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Serendipity for Sale

Serendipity 2

Serendipity Sold

(*Serendipity has been sold)

Getting ourselves ready to sell Serendipity is one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do.  Much harder than selling our house, cars, and all our personal belongings to begin our vagabond lifestyle.  She’s the perfect boat for us.  She’s a perfect boat in general.  Great for two people (or maybe even a family of three), easy to handle, and very safe and strongly built.  We can tell you from experience that she’s ocean worthy too.

We even spent the past few months contemplating our cruising life and seriously considering putting the ‘Dip back in the water, hightailing it to the Caribbean, and enjoying a few more years relaxing on her.  She’s the perfect boat for that and we would have been more than happy living on her amongst the palm trees for the foreseeable future. Why spend the next year throwing time, sweat, and money into a new project when we have a perfect boat at our disposal right now? But even though life is about the now it’s also about the future.  And our future has high latitudes and ice fields in it which means that an aluminum boat is the best way to go.

So with a fairly heavy heart we have spent the past two months getting her in impeccable shape for her new owners, whomever they may be.  The hull is shining like new, every cabinet, nook, and storage space has been scrubbed clean, and the bottom has just received a fresh coat of paint.  She is literally completely cruise ready, no more work necessary.  It’s 100% ready for new owners to move their belongings on and sail away. Heck, we just sailed across the Atlantic and back with her last year.

Serendipity 1

Serendipity 3

(New exterior photos coming soon, photos above taken in Jamaica in 2013)

 

Isn’t she pretty?  Sigh….if only we had the funds to keep both boats.

On to costs, that’s probably the biggest question and at the forefront of any minds that are considering purchasing her.

$62,000 USD

* She is currently sitting in Indiantown, Florida; approximately 10 miles east of Lake Okeechobee. We will consider delivering Serendipity along the East Coast of the US or Florida’s Gulf Coast with purchase.

Serendipity is a 1989 Sabre 34 Targa, and here are her dimensions:

  • Material: Fiberglass
  • LOA: 34 ft 2 in
  • Beam: 11 ft 2 in
  • LWL: 28 ft 3 in
  • Minimum draft: 4 ft 6 in
  • Maximum draft 4 ft 6 in
  • Displacement: 11,700 lbs
  • Ballast: 4,800 lbs

Engines

  • Maximum speed: 7 knots

Tanks

  • Fresh water tanks: 2 (55 gallons)
  • Fuel tanks: 1 (30 gallons)
  • Holding tanks: 1 (30 gallons)

Accommodations:

  • Number of single berths: 1
  • Number of double berths: 3
  • Number of cabins: 2
  • Number of heads: 1

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So now that you’ve gotten just a taste of what she looks like inside, let’s go over all her features section by section.

Galley

  • Grunert refrigeration (increased box insulation in 2011)
  • Regal two burner stove/oven converted to LPG
  • Sliding cover for extra counter space over stove
  • Two 6 lb aluminum LPG tanks installed in propane locker
  • Propane solenoid
  • Saltwater tap at sink
  • Whale foot pumps for fresh and salt water
  • Pressure water
  • Two bowl stainless sink
  • Pull out trash
  • Microwave in aft cabin
  • All Spartan bronze seakcocks (greased 2015)
  • All thru hull hoses were replaced in 2011

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Head

  • Raritan PHII head (new 2012)
  • 30 gallon holding tank
  • All hoses replaced with Trident in 2012
  • Shower sump box
  • Fan for wet locker
  • Whale foot pump for fresh water
  • Pressure water

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Drivetrain

  • Westerbeke 30b three 1989 with 1,750 hours
  • Transmission rebuilt in 2013
  • Cutlass bearing replaced in 2015
  • PSS dripless shaft seal 2013
  • Three blade feathering Maxprop
  • Shaft rope cutter
  • Hydronic bus heater
  • Dual Racor fuel filters
  • All hoses replaced in 2011

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Electrical

  • 475 watts of solar on bimini and davits (2011)
  • 1000 watt Xantrex Pro inverter (2011)
  • 450 amp hour 6 volt battery bank installed 2012
  • Bluesea 422 battery monitor system (2011)
  • Bluesea Automatic Charge Relay (2011)
  • Xantrex solar charge controller (2015)
  • Vetus 105 amp hour start battery installed 2015
  • All LED lights except aft cabin
  • Camfro fans in galley, head, settee and v-berth

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Electronics

  • Raymarine C95 chart plotter with North American Navionics charts (new 2012) in rotating Navpod
  • Raymarine RD418 Radar (new 2012)
  • Raymarine SPX 10 Autopilot (new 2012)
  • Raymarine type 1 linear drive (below deck autopilot) (new 2012)
  • Raymarine ST6002 autopilot head (new 2012)
  • Raymarine rudder position sensor (new 2012)
  • Standard Horizon Gx2100 VHF with AIS receiver (new 2012)
  • Raymarine ST60 wind, depth, and speed sensors (speed through water does not work)
  • Standard Horizon Ram3 mix in cockpit (just stopped working)
  • Vizio LED tv installed in cabin (2011)
  • Pioneer CD player with cockpit and cabin speakers

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Deck

  • Lewmar Concept 1 Windlass ( new 2011)
  • 175 ft ACCO 5/16″ G4 chain (new 2012)
  • Fortress anchor (new 2012)
  • 2 x 100′ 3/4″ 3 strand anchor rode
  • Large/strong cast double anchor roller
  • Garhauer rail midship cleats (new 2012)
  • Garhauer 1 1/4″ dinghy davits (new 2012)
  • 6 Stainless ports with tempered glass (all except cockpit which are OEM plastic)
  • Deadlights were replaced in 2013 with tempered glass and Dow 795
  • Dodger stainless frame
  • Bimini stainless frame
  • Amsteel/Dyneema lifelines installed 2012
  • West Marine Jacklines
  • Revere throwable and inflated lifesling (needs new mount)
  • Stainless stern ladder
  • 2 Bomar deck hatches (rebed in 2014)
  • Port side stainless jerry can holder
  • Lewmar wheel with elkhide cover
  • Stainless steel emergency rudder bracket and mount on transom
  • LED stern, bow, and anchor lights

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 Rigging

  • Solent stay added in 2013
  1. Wichard adjustable/removable turnbuckle
  2. Wichard 6056 folding padeye on deck
  3. Wichard 6056 folding padeye below deck fitting
  4. Wichard Mast Tang
  5. 1/4″ stainless rigging with Norseman fitting
  • All standing rigging replaced in September 2012
  • Most running rigging replaced in 2011
  • Hall Spars mast and boom
  • Garhauer adjustable genoa cars installed 2011
  • 2 Lewmar ST 43 winches as primaries
  • 4 Lewmar 16 on the cabin top and on mast
  • 9 Spinlock clutches added 2012
  • Mainsail, Spinnaker halyard, boom vang and topping lift control back in cockpit
  • Tack and clew reef lines back in cockpit for either 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd reefs
  • 3.5″ Spinnaker pole used as bulletproof whisker pole (15.5′)
  • Harken roller furling
  • Harken traveler
  • Hydraulic backstay adjuster  (should be rebuilt soon)
  • North Sails Mainsail with three reef points (ok condition)
  • Dutchman mainsail handling system
  • North 120% genoa  (usable, but should be replaced)
  • Staysail with reef points (old)
  • Storm Jib (new never used)
  • North Sails asymmetrical spinnaker in North sock (very good)

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Solent stay attached to turnbuckle for storage

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Solent stay attached to deck and ready for use.

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Sabres are fantastic boats, but even so, not every Sabre is built equal.  Between the Targa model (which we own) and the Classic model, we’ll tell you why we think the Targa stands above. Let’s take a walking tour of Serendipity, shall we?

Sabre Targa vs the standard layout

The Targa is an aft cabin/head model-  This layout features many cruiser requirements over the standard Classic model.  The aft cabin creates a closed off storage area, which is how we use it, or you can have a large private sleeping cabin. A much better set-up than the open berth of the Classic layout.  Access while sailing to the aft head on the starboard side is also much easier, safer and drier, unlike the Classic, where one is dripping seawater from wet foul weather gear throughout the cabin on the way to the head!

The port and starboard longitudinal bulkheads that make-up the aft head and berth makes traversing the companionway steps very safe and secure with something to lean against the entire way down. She also has real companionway steps, not some thin ladder like most boats.  Behind the head, there is a hanging wet locker with a fan to help dry your foulies.  The Aft cabin has storage under the berth, under the microwave, and sliding door cabinets along the hull.

The L shaped galley puts the sink where it should be, over the center-line of the boat where the draining is best. This gives you a very large and usable refrigerator inboard of the sink, two storage drawers, a utensil drawer, pull out trash and great sliding storage along the hull.

The starboard side has a real navigation seat that doesn’t use a settee or berth cushion to just make due.  Along the hull is your circuit panel (with open spots for additional equipment), with Blue seas Vessel System Monitor (battery, A/C, bilge pump alarm and holding tank monitor), CD player, and VHF.  Below the navigation seat are your 4 6-volt batteries making 450 AH. The nav desk has top load storage, two drawers, and a cabinet door for excellent storage.

Moving forward, you have a U shaped settee on the port side and a straight settee on starboard.  Both have great storage below, behind, and above in the beautiful tambour teak sliding door cabinets.  The cushions are very comfortable with the fabric still in very good condition.  The folding table, as it came from Sabre, took up a lot of space and required you to slide through a narrow gap to gain access to the port settee.  We have modified the table to give a very open feeling and so much more floor space.  This is the way they should have been built!

The Achilles heel of most Sabres is the mast step’s drain clogging, rotting the beam that holds the mast, requiring an expensive and invasive repair.  Great news! The Targa model has a fiberglass mast step/pan that cannot rot like the others.  Serendipity also has a custom cast aluminum step allowing draining far superior to the original.

The inside tour ends with the V berth. Serendipity has plenty of clothes storage in a hanging locker to starboard and cabinets below the berth and to port.  The bed is 6″ of comfortable foam with a great ventilation from an overhead hatch and two ports.

What makes Serendipity special vs other Sabres?

  • Solent stay installed for a storm jib or staysail.
  • All lines including reefs brought back to cockpit.
  • Adjustable genoa line cars
  • Windlass with wired remote
  • Amsteel Lifelines
  • 475 watts of solar makes us power self-sufficient at anchor
  • Garhauer davits
  • Shallow draft of just 4′ 6″.  Keel was removed in 2013 to rebed and check for keel bolt issues.  Bolt was replaced with stainless due to corrosion.
  • All rigging replaced in late 2012 and chainplates were removed and resealed
  • A real below deck autopilot and not a toy wheel pilot
  • Refrigeration is already installed and is not just an icebox
  • 450 AH of batteries installed… try fitting that comfortably in most 34′ boats
  • Stainless steel ports and new tempered glass deadlights (they’ll never go foggy on you!)

 

So you can see why Serendipity is such a great boat and why we spent so long deciding if we should even sell her.  If we knew she could make it through ice fields there would be no need to!  But alas..we don’t want to attempt that, which means she needs to go on the market so we can begin outfitting our new (to us) aluminum boat.  We hope Serendipity goes to a great home and we know whomever purchases her will love her just as much as we do.

Again, we are asking for $62,000 USD while selling through owner.  We think this price is very competitive in the Sabre world.  There are currently others in the market…one at the moment for $69,000 which has none of our cruising features and older electronics; or the Classic models which are selling for $50,000 – $96,000 with what we think is (sorry!) a less logical layout and usually older equipment.  So to get the Targa model and in ready to cruise condition…we think this is a steal.

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Throwback Thursday: St. Augustine – The Cutest Little Town You Could Almost Shipwreck Your Boat In

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Serendipity to sell and Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

This week’s installment brings us to the day that changed our cruising fates forever.  Where our plans for a circumnavigation turned into ‘Can we save our boat? Will we still have something to sail at the end of the day?’.  Testing our mental strength, we found out what happens when things go really wrong. But we came out the other side, stronger and wiser and with the knowledge to always trust your gut.

You can find the original post here.

Thursday November 29, 2012

11.29.12

With plans to get to the Bahamas ASAP, we almost made the three day journey outside straight from Cumberland Island to Lake Worth just so we’d be able to stock up the boat and leave as soon as the next weather window came.  We knew that St. Augustine, which was a 50 mile jump from channel to channel, was supposed to be a very pretty and historic town complete with another boat exchange shop, so I was able to talk Matt into a one day stay there before booking it to Lake Worth.  Basing our trips on daylight now, as we always have to do, we figured if we left with the sun in the morning we should have just enough time to get inside the inlet before it went down.  Plus the weather was calling for 15 knots from the north with only three foot waves or less, so it would be a nice downwind sail, perfect for Georgie’s first time out on the water.  Getting the anchor up thirty minutes before the sun rose, we fought a pretty nasty current going out the St. Mary’s Inlet which had us moving forward at a measly two knots, but as soon as we were free of the breakers and pointed south our speed shot back up and under headsail alone we were able to average 6-7 knots.  The sun was shinning and it was a beautiful day.  My mind was filled with thoughts of a hot shower and spaghetti dinner that night, and as we crossed into the Sunshine State my spirit lifted with the promise of soon to be warm weather and crystal clear seas.

Even though the waves were low it was not a flat ride, and since we’re not positive Georgie is 100% sure not to jump off the deck even in calm weather, we’ve already discussed that she’ll always be stowed away below while traveling.  Having left our new kitty under the warm covers of bed that morning we constantly went down to check on her to see how she was handling the rocking motion of the boat.  Each time we’d find her bundled under loads of blankets, either unaware that we were moving or so deep in sleep that she didn’t care.  Since she wasn’t getting sick or freaking out I was considering this initial voyage with her a success.  When we were only ten miles out from the St. Augustine Inlet we called the Municipal Marina and made reservations that night for a mooring ball, and with over an hour of sunlight left,  I was thinking that we’d just quickly ease ourselves in through the inlet and be relaxing inside the cabin thirty minutes after.

Our charts of the inlet only showed one green buoy, which was strange since the past few inlets we’d gone in and out of have buoys going out for miles, red and green placed together each mile along the way. Something else strange on the chart was that it didn’t show the depth anywhere in or near the channel.  Having Matt take a look he pulled out our resources and found that constant dredging and shifts are always changing the channel, so that’s why it’s not marked on charts, and entering it should be done visually by relying on the buoys in the water and using local knowledge.  Keeping my eye peeled for the green buoy listed on the chart (even though I wasn’t supposed to follow it anymore) I did not see it, but did catch sight of a red one off our port bow.  Changing course to take the red buoy on the port side, we finally spied a green next to it, Green 1 & Red 2, so I passed between them with no sight of other buoys in front of us towards the inlet.  Following the straight line that we had made between the initial buoys I began to get a little apprehensive when I still couldn’t see any others buoys and the depth began to fall from 25 ft to 15, so I hailed Tow Boat US over the VHF for verbal instructions on how to navigate the channel.

Coming back on the radio and being very helpful, he kept telling me that Red 4 was missing and I needed to find Red buoy 6 and hug it…but I still could not see anything in front of me.   Matt had even gone on the deck with binoculars without seeing any of the markers.  The sun was setting right in front of our eyes, reflecting off the water and blinding us to anything ahead, and breaking waves surrounded us on each side.  Both of us were getting very nervous and were about to about and turn around when we saw a red buoy ahead just off to starboard.  Hooray!!, we were on the right track after all!  Making a beeline for this new marker I still didn’t understand why the depths were not going up if we were supposedly getting closer to or in the channel.  Then, in the few seconds it took for my heart to jump into my throat when I realized something about this wasn’t right, there was a sudden and hard thud as the depth-sounder abruptly went from 13 ft to 4.  We had just hit bottom, and we hit it HARD.  And this wasn’t a drifting forward from deep to shallow water, it was a quick drop on to it.

Quickly throwing the engine into reverse and throttling hard we could not even move before the next wall of water picked us up and threw us down on the hard bottom again.  The stern swung to the side and now instead of running down with the waves, they were approaching us on our beam (bad news!).  It was only a few seconds from breaker to breaker and the next one that came did not lift us up but instead crashed on our side sending hundreds of gallons of water over our deck and into our cockpit.  It was here that the severity of the situation became real, as this is how boats are lost everyday at sea.  We had both been holding on tightly knowing that initial wave was coming and before the next one reached us we both had our life jackets on and were tethered in.  Matt took a hold of the wheel to point us into the waves and I jumped on the VHF to send out a distress call to the guy on Tow Boat US  I had been talking to on 18, and yelled out that we’d run aground and needed immediate assistance.  I let him know we were stuck in breaking waves and required him to come as soon as possible.

Still at the wheel, Matt was doing his best to move us forward and into deeper water.  The waves coming at Serendipity were eight foot breakers and they were completely having their way with us.  Every 10 seconds we’d be lifted up sixteen feet and then slammed down hard onto our keel.  It was like an earthquake inside the boat, and with each slam the whole boat would shake and shudder inside and out.  I was only used to running into soft sand but this felt like we were pounding down on cement.  My mind kept racing with what was happening.  Would we be able to make it out of this any moment basically unscathed?  Would we make it out, but with lots of damage? Or worst of all,Are we going to have to abandon ship and leave Serendipity behind?  Somehow in this I never feared at all for our safety.  Maybe it was because we had on our life jackets and were only a few hundred feet from shore, but I was never worried that we wouldn’t make it out.  Continually slamming up and down though without any sign that Serendipity was about to miraculously make it out, Matt gave me instructions to hit the Distress Signal on our VHF which sent out an alert to all boats in the area, and then after that he instructed me to put out a Mayday call to the Coast Guard.

Still trusting that Serendipity would get this through us I was calm and collected as I talked to the Coast Guard and explained what the situation was.  We had run aground in the inlet and there were breaking waves coming over us.  They took information as to: how many people were on board; did we have any medical conditions; were we taking on any water.  ”Two, no, no.”  While responding I was still bracing myself at the navigation station below, knees giving out underneath me from the force of each slam down onto the hard ground.  I had to wonder if they could hear it on their end as well, the sickening crash and shudder from the drop of each wave.  The  TV sitting on a swinging mount in the cabin had been wildly swinging back and forth this whole time, slamming into v-berth door and leaving indents.  I flinched with each hit, knowing it would leave permanent damage to the door, and then getting disgusted with myself for worrying about something so trivial at a time like this.  We were in danger and I was disturbed with the physical appearance of the boat.

While speaking with the Coast Guard I heard the engine shudder to a stop, but hadn’t even realized we weren’t crashing down on the keel any more.  We had drifted out of the breakers and into deeper water between the channel’s shoal and shore which in itself was good news, but in all the chaos, the sliding genoa car that holds the line for our jib lines had broken loose and wrapped around our prop leaving us dead in the water.  There was a strong current and smaller breaking waves still pushing us toward shore, and due to Matt’s quick thinking he dropped our anchor, a Rocna 25 Kg, which stuck immediately, kept us into place, and allowed us to face bow into the waves.  This wasvery important because not only would we have drifted to shore and shallow water again, but the breaking waves would have also likely turned us on our side and rolled the boat over if we were not able to keep ourselves facing into them (Typically, you only need breaking waves half the width of your boat to roll it over… these were larger  than the 5’6″ our boat would need).  If we didn’t have that Rocna, and it didn’t hold right away like it did, we would not have even had a chance to save our boat while waiting for help to come.  Getting back on the VHF with the Coast Guard I informed them our engine was not working due to a wrapped line around the prop and we were now adrift in deeper water.  With the wind coming from right where we needed to go, sailing out wasn’t an option.

Not having anything to keep him preoccupied now, Matt let his nerves start to get the best of him as he stumbled down the stairs, still assured in his mind that we were going to lose the boat and have to be evacuated.  Between short breaths he tore through the aft cabin pulling out our backpack and stuffed Georgie inside of it.  Going into our hanging locker in the head he grabbed our dry bag and started throwing in our laptops, important papers, passports, and anything else small and of value.  These were all smart things to do, but the look in his eyes was terrified as if to say ‘We’re not going to make it‘.  Calming him down the best I could I assured him that the three of us would make it out of this and that’s what was important.  Even if the boat was lost we’d still have each other.  Even though the chance of losing the boat was not what he wanted to hear this seemed to work a little and his breathing slowed down as he started to gain control again but I could tell his mind was still full of what ifs?.

Not knowing who/when/if anyone was still coming to rescue us since the Coast Guard Station was all the way up in Jacksonville, I was relieved to hear the voice of Tow Boat US come back on the radio and say he was moments away.  By now the sun had already set and pale pinks and blues were painting the coast of the Atlantic.  When I looked over to see the bright flashing lights of Tow Boat US my heart lifted as I could now see help was on the way.  Our Rocna was still holding us steady in ten feet of water, which is enough for our keel to clear the bottom, but now in the heavy breaking waves of the beach’s surf line, we figured that with this assistance we may still save our home.  Communicating through VHF he said he was going to trail a line with a bridle at the end and when it drifted close enough to it, Matt who was at the bow with a boat hook, would grab it and attach it to our cleats up front.  Once that was done we’d pull up the anchor and be on our way.  It sounded so effortless and I began to let myself relax in just the slightest.  We were going to be out of here in just a few minutes and leave this nightmare behind.

As the tow boat made it’s first pass we kept our eyes on the water for the yellow bridle that was to be our savior, but it was nowhere in sight.  When he called back on the VHF I replied that it hadn’t come by yet, but then I spotted it.  100 feet off our starboard side and not drifting any closer to us.  Calling this information back to him he said he’d make another pass.  Swinging around once more his boat passed a few hundred feet in front of us and as soon as he was even with our bow he shot back out into the deeper water.  Once more we watched the bridle pass this time 50 feet to our starboard side with no indication it would come any closer.  I didn’t get why he couldn’t pass any nearer to us or why he wouldn’t continue past our bow before heading back out as in my mind that would seem to put the lines within reach.  Then it occurred to me that he couldn’t do either of those because those large breakers we were stuck in, and by coming closer, he would be putting himself and his boat in danger which would be a lose/lose situation for everyone.  The optimism of getting pulled off was diminishing and for the first time I let myself get scared.  It was getting dark out, the tow boat couldn’t successfully get to us, and we might lose everything after all.  A lump formed in my throat as I tried to hold back tears.  All the confidence and repose was draining out of me and I was moments away from breaking down.

Just at the moment I was about to succumb to the fears building up inside of me, there was another voice on the radio.  Local search and rescue had been listening to the distress call and our interaction with the tow boat on how he was unable to get the line close enough to reach.  They were sending out one of their jet skis that could grab the line from the tow boat and bring it directly to us.  We were thrilled to hear this, but the waiting began again.  Matt was still stationed at the bow and I was in the cockpit.  Both of us would have to brace ourselves as the waves that were starting to grow again would throw our side up before coming back down.  We were now at a 50-60 degree angle to the waves and although they weren’t sending water in the cockpit it was a very uncomfortable ride.  As the sky turned the color of a blueberry I looked back to shore to see a Coast Guard search and rescue truck stationed on the beach 300 feet away with lights flashing, reflecting off the sand and water.  The waves built a higher, and as I’d start to get small rushes of water over the gunnel and into the cockpit, my heart began to beat faster.  I didn’t know how much longer I’d be able to take this.

As my mind started to go into the darkest places of what might become of us we got a call on the radio that search and rescue had us in their sights.  Looking over our port side we saw their bright flashing lights and hopes lifted again.  Coming up to our boat to check on our physical (and probably mental) well being, they advised that instead of bringing the bridle to us they’d instead have us cleat off our own line that they would bring over to the tow line.  Knowing that time was a factor I started grabbing lines from the cockpit floor and unknowingly began to start handing out our reef line thinking it wasn’t attached to anything.  Having come back to the cockpit to feed the line to search and rescue, Matt caught my mistake and dove into the back lazarette for our double braided drogue line and handed it to me to untie.  Although it had been tied and stowed properly, it became a mess as it fell onto the cockpit floor while trying to get all 200 feet ready to hand out.  Using all my strength I heaved and pulled at the now wet line trying to work out kinks and knots.  When we had 3/4 of it  straight Matt took the line to the bow to cleat off and search and rescue made a pass to pick up the other end.  After two attempts the line was secured by them and they made their way back to Tow Boat US who was sitting safely off in the distance.

Keeping in contact through the VHF we discussed the next steps with Tow Boat US.  Once he had the lines secured, he would notify us when we were to take our anchor up, and once we were free, we’d call back to him and he’d tighten the line and begin the tow.  Everything went smoothly on his part and after working our windlass hard to pull ourselves to the anchor and get the Rocna up, which had dug itself in pretty deep, I was given the signal by Matt which I excitedly relayed on the radio and the towing process started.  Being walked through step by step from the tow boat I had the wheel cranked hard to starboard to get us facing the tow boat, and once we were pointed at the stern, I was told to keep it there.  We were now in pitch black and all I had to go by were the yellow and while lights shinning on the top of his boat.  Letting my eyes sneak to the chart several times I kept an eye on the depth, fearful of being pulled back into the shoals we had passed through earlier.  The tow boat captain was knowledgeable of the area though and brought us far to the south of the breakers before rounding to head back into the channel.  Every time we were about to make a turn he’d call it back to me on the radio and pass through very slowly so I’d constantly be able to position myself behind him.

Before I knew it we were through the channel and into the Matanzas Bay.  I let out a huge sigh and my tense body was finally able to relax.  We had made it through this.  Looking up into the town of St. Augustine the waterfront was covered in Christmas lights and it looked like something out of a fairy tale.  Letting myself get distracted by something other than the boat I took a few minutes to appreciate all the beauty around us.  As I sat there admiring the lights I heard movement in the water next to our stern and puffs of air escaping the blowholes of a pod of dolphins that came to surface next to us.  I couldn’t see them but they stayed there for a few minutes, as if they were surveying the situation and making sure we were ok.  Unhooking the tow lines our guide boat came up beside us to ‘hip tow’ us the rest of the way to the mooring ball we had made a reservation on for the night.  Secured in we began the paperwork and got the chance to chat with the guy who saved Serendipity.  Captain Justin Daily is the one who heard our initial questions about navigating the inlet and had already been on his way out to help guide us in before our distress call went out.  Through the whole ordeal he was calm, confident, polite and made it very easy to put our minds to rest of the whole situation.  Back at the mooring ball he was insistent on making sure we were alright and worked with us to make the bill as manageable as possible since we were not yet Tow Boat US members.  We could not have asked for a better person to help us out that night.

When all the paperwork was finished and the tow boat was gone we immediately had visitors from Hideaway who were at the mooring ball next to us and heard the whole thing go down on their radio.  Changing out of our soaking we clothes we jumped in their dinghy and after all of us checked in to the office we took advantage of the hot showers and walked across the street to get some food.  We relayed the whole story to them over drinks and a hot meal.  They assured us it probably wasn’t as bad as we anticipated and boats are much sturdier than we think they are.  Asking what our plans were next we could only tell them that we’d have to haul out to inspect the damage.  As far as what was after that, neither of us had a clue and agreed not to make any decisions that night.  If we had that night, we probably would have been two one-way tickets back to Michigan on our credit card.  It was a trying night and we were so thankful to have friends there waiting with open arms, give outside perspective, and remind us what we have to be thankful for.

In the end we made it out mostly in one piece.  We’re safe and although Serendipity will have permanent damage, hopefully it will be minor repairs that will have us back on our way in a matter of days.  She took a very bad pounding but through it all we never had any water coming in, steering was moving freely and besides some cosmetic issues to the interior plus all of our belongings scattered around her, she looks to be holding up pretty well.  Probably better than us at the moment.

Some very big thanks need to go out to all that got us and our home back to safety that night.  Thank you Justin Daily for coming to our rescue, before you even knew we needed you.  You braved breaking waves yourself and held our hand through the whole situation.  Your calmness and awareness let us know we were in good hands and and all of us (boat included) would be taken care of.  The community is lucky to have you around. Thank you to the local search and rescue team.  Without your assistance we may have never received the tow lines that pulled our boat to safety.  You were out to help us without a moments notice and without even being asked.  We appreciate it more than you know.  And lastly, thank you to Rocna Anchors.  Without your reliable anchor that we have trusted since the beginning of this trip, we surely would have lost our boat to the smashing waves of the inlet before rescue could make it out to us.  You make a remarkable product that all boaters would be wise to take advantage of.

If there was any lesson learned today, it’s to always follow your gut.  Both of us had a bad feeling about our entrance into the inlet but didn’t react in time to save ourselves a night full of heartache.  We should have circled back out right away and either re-evaluated the situation, waited for another boat to follow in, or just kept going down the coast until we found an inlet we were more comfortable with, even if that meant skipping St. Augustine all together.  So many people put themselves in bad situations and just get lucky that they come out of it fine.  ’It won’t happen to me‘ is a common phrase in people’s minds and always floated through ours as well.  From now on I have a feeling we’ll be over-cautious in many situations and we’ll be living by the adage ‘Better safe than sorry’.  Because now we know what ‘sorry’ feels like and it isn’t very good.  In fact, ‘sorry’ downright sucks.  Taking a look around though the bright holiday decorations, historic buildings, and friendly people will all help us get through this.  I’ve only seen a little bit of it, but St. Augustine really does look like the cutest little town you could almost shipwreck your boat in.

He’s a map showing where it all went wrong.

st augustine inlet

After talking to local Fire & Rescue I was sent a clip of a sailboat that ran aground in the same exact spot we did, just one year earlier.  They were not as lucky, the keel of their boat fell off causing them to capsize and sending two people into the water, both of whom were rescued.  Click here if you’d like to see it.  The water conditions were the same for both them and us, but  we had clear skies and a pretty sunset.  A sunset that partially caused our demise, but it was pretty nontheless.

 

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Letting the Fates Decide (& Other Stuff)

Wednesday May 20, 2015

storms over Indiantown

The last I left you with our boat situation, we were trying to decide if we should keep Serendipity or if we should sell her and spend the next however long and who knows how much fixing up the quite beaten up Daze Off.  As far as weighing the pros and cons of each, things haven’t changed much.  We haven’t made a final decision on it all.

And that my friends, is why I’m letting the fates decide.  The big thing for us if we keep Serendipity is that we need to find a safe spot for hurricane season and get ourselves there in a reasonable time, meaning we’d want to leave Florida by early to mid-June.  There are some last minute things that would need to be taken care of here, but we think they could be done within a few weeks.

There would be no rushing down thousands of miles to Grenada, or even to Guatemala which we would LOVE to visit again, but more likely end up in the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, where with a decent weather window we could make in a week or just over. Having to then rid ourselves of Daze Off, well, there is a story behind that, but it shouldn’t bee too difficult or time consuming.  There would be selling our new vehicle, getting some other paperwork squared away, but really nothing that would be keeping us here.

How might I be letting the fates decide our lives you might ask?  It’s actually quite simple.  We’re going to put Serendipity up for sale, by owner, for two weeks and see how she does on the market.  If there’s not so much as a nibble we’ll splash her and go.  If there’s a few interested parties we’ll re-evaluate.  And if there’s an offer…chances are we’ll take it as long as it hits a certain figure and then dive into work on Daze Off.  I figure this is the best way since it’s a decision neither of us can seem to make for ourselves and because we are actually so indecisive about the whole thing, I think we’ll be satisfied with whatever the universe throws at us. Problem solved.

What’s the other stuff?  I never really did get a chance to talk much about that new vehicle of ours.  She’s a beauty.  A 2004 Kia Sedona, without air conditioning and about three door handles missing.  We knew when we bought something we wanted it to be a minivan so we could pull out all the seats and fit 4×8 pieces of plywood in it, because heaven knows we’ll be buying plenty of those. Did I mention that every scrap of wood in Daze Off is going to be replaced if we keep her?

Truth be told we would have loved to purchase a Toyota Sienna but it was a bit out of the price range we wanted to pay.  We only needed something that will last us our six to nine months here without completely falling apart on us.  If we can eventually sell it again and get any kind of money back, that’s just a bonus.  We started with a budget of $2,000, and searching all over Fort Lauderdale and Miami we’d found a couple that looked as if they may be contenders.  The photos looked nice, mileage was low enough, and all the listings always said ‘great condition’.  Until we saw them in person or took them for a test drive.  I don’t know if any of them even would have got us back to Indiantown.

Then we came across our current one in Port St. Lucie.  Advertised for $1,500, she had 142,000 miles and the photos showed her in decent condition.  There was a bit of sun damage on the hood and it was no longer shiny, but that wouldn’t be a deal breaker for us. Going to see her in person we found out she drove well, but the check engine light was on and the owner couldn’t remember what was causing that.  “Nothing big”, he told us, “Whatever it is, it’s an easy fix, I remember that”.  Telling him we had to think about it we went back to Indiantown having our rental for another day and another van to look at in the morning.

Getting back to the ‘Dip that evening we received several text messages from the owner, stating that he would bring the price down to $1,100 and throw in a brand new compressor to fix the A/C.  We still didn’t know.  The next morning we got another text.  ‘$1,000 with compressor’.  Well you can’t turn down a deal like that. So running back out with our rental car we purchased her and then registered her to the state of Florida.  Which did require Matt to get a new drivers license here.  Hehe.  I love the Mackinac Bridge running over mine and I’ll be keeping my Michigan one as long as possible.

So there you have it.  A new vehicle, purchase and registered for pretty much what we earned on our sailing instructor gig.  Not a bad little arrangement.

That’s all for me today.  I’m about to get back outside and watch this incredible thunderstorm come in over the storage yard.  If I can handle all the mosquitoes that is.  They are out in such force right now that I have on long pants, socks, a long sleeve shirt, and a scarf covering my neck and entire face except for my eyes.  Sitting on the deck while enjoying a glass of wine along with the storm may be completely out of the question, but I still have a chance of capturing that perfect shot with my camera!

2004 Kia Sedona

putting plates on our new vehicle

our beat up Kia

thunderstorms over Florida

thunderstorms over the boat yard

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Jessie & Melody Went Down to the Beach (to play one day)

Sunday May 17, 2015

Melody at West Palm Beach

I love girl time.  It’s so rare that I’ve been able to have any lately.  Sure, the Virgin Islands was full of that for me where I was able to hang out with my cruising girls Genevieve, Kim, Jody, and Felica….but those days are long gone and while they’re all still out on the water having the time of their lives, I’ve been stuck in a boatyard in the middle of Florida.

Luckily for me, another cruising lady I became close friends with last year is currently on her boat in Fort Lauderdale.  Even better, we just purchased a set of wheels (in the form of a 2004 Kia Sedona) so now I actually travel by land to see her!  Since neither of us wanted to put the other one out by a full 90 minute drive up or down, we broke it up and decided to split the difference by having lunch in West Palm Beach.  Ever as much the frugal cruiser as I am, Melody found us a cheap authentic Mexican restaurant by the name of El Paso, and after getting lost only twice and parking in the wrong lot, where I was sure I was going to get towed but left the van there anyway, met my dear friend after just over a year apart.

Melody and I got to know each other last year when Matt and I spent a month in Fort Lauderdale.  It was kind of happenstance, where we met somewhat by chance and somewhat by Six Degrees of Other Cruisers, but the bond was instant and we’ve still been keeping in good touch even after we parted ways.  Sliding up to the bar we dove right into conversation as if we’d just seen each other last week.  After a really, really long hug of course.

I let her in on my woes of what to do in the situation of Serendipity vs Daze Off.  Having put her own boat on the market last fall without any serious bids, until they took it back off the market of course, she told me what a pain it is to go through the process of selling a boat, which still leaves me just as confused as ever.  The reasons for staying or going can be so random and odd as well.  ‘Leave on Serendipity…this may be the last time I ever see Melody again.  Sell Serendipity and work on Daze Off…weekend visits to Fort Lauderdale and more time with Melody’.  The puzzlement never ends.

When I wasn’t playing the ‘What do I do with my life?’ game we spent a great couple hours catching up, drinking ice cold beers, and enjoying some very good (and cheap!) Mexican food.  Always being the ones to give little gifts to each other, I surprised her with a shirt she had seen me wearing in a photo in Maderia that she loved and Matt coincidentally hated.  So much so that he almost ripped it so I couldn’t wear it anymore.  I think it will be better off in her hands than a trash bin…  And, Melody surprised me with one of my favorite things in the world: new nautical shackle bracelets which she designs and makes.  There was even a new one in there for me (and added to her line), based on the outfit I was wearing the very first time we met.  A white bracelet with light brown whipping, perfectly complimenting the white top and light brown llama skirt I had purchased in Peru.  Is that an amazing friend, or what?

For those of you who don’t know or haven’t clicked the affiliate link on my sidebar, Melody sells her bracelets through Maggie & Milly in an array of colors and sizes.  I love them SO MUCH.  They are the perfect accessory for me no matter what I am wearing, so to be stocked up with a few new colors completely made my day.  Well, aside from the fact that I was able to spend it with one of my best girlfriends. Plus since neither of us had any place we needed to be for a few hours, we decided to head down to the beach at West Palm so we could capture some photos of me wearing my new goods.  I’m not lying when I say I wear her bracelets everywhere, and I usually try and snap a few photos in my more beautiful locations for her to be able to advertise on her website.  Does anyone in that sidebar photo look familiar?

Melody & Jessica at El Paso

present of Maggie & Milly bracelet

Maggie & Milly multi colors

Arriving at the beach it was a beautiful afternoon and the area wasn’t too bad either.  A little more swanky that most beaches I’ve been to.  Strolling through the sand and the water we talked about what a crazy 12 months it’s been for the both of us and how much the cruising and boating lifestyle can change a person.  That we’ve only met three times in person previously but both consider each other one of our closest friends.  How things in our life can be completely crazy and most people will have no idea what we’re going through, but we can always count on and lean on each other.

There’s something about the water and a life on the ocean that has bonded our friendship forever. I guess Maggie and Milly’s namesake does have a point.  “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

West Palm Beach

Jessica for Maggie & Milly

West Palm Beach

Melody & Jessica 2

 

MAGGIE AND MILLY
AND MOLLY AND MAY


maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

~e.e. cummings

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Contemplations

Tuesday May 5, 2015

contemplations in the boat yard

We’re back on Serendipity now after a fantastic week with my parents, but once again we’re being smacked in the face with reality.  No, not necessarily because we’re faced with boat work, this is no ‘woe is me for having to put forth efforts of labor’ so don’t cry for us just yet.  The reality we’re now faced with is we have a huge decision to make and we can’t run from it any longer.

The big question we’re now asking ourselves, and one we have to answer soon, is ‘Do we sell Serendipity? Or do we keep her?’.

And what you might be asking yourself now is..’Where is this coming from?  Hasn’t this been what they’ve been spending the past two months working toward?’.  Well….yes and no.

The more and more we get Serendipity ready to sell the more we’re questioning why we’re getting rid of her.  And the more and more we look at all the work that is going to have to go into Daze Off, we’re questioning if it’s the right decision to rebuild.  Let me go into each one in a little more detail.

 

First: Serendipity.  Let’s look at our past three years cruising on her.  She has taken us so many places and covered so many miles with us safely in tow.  About 15,000 nautical miles to be exact.  She’s weathered countless storms and always comes out the other side, none the worse for wear. She’s light, fast, incredibly easy for the two of us to handle, and has been a pleasure to sail.  We’ve had very few problems on her and if anything does arise it’s always a quick and easy fix.  How many boats out there can say that?

As if it wasn’t enough just to have a great cruising boat, we love spending our time on her.  The layout is perfect with double settees for port and starboard for us to lounge on, a v-berth that is comfortable enough to sleep with (if I were to wish for things I’d go for a king bed, but we’re on a boat, so let’s be realistic), and a galley that I have finally mastered and can cook quite a good meal in if I do say so myself.  The head is plenty big enough, although showers can still be a pain sometimes as I’ve found out in my unusual life.  It’s funny how one can easily forget some of those minor irritants after two months in a marina.

I’m sidetracking myself here. The point is Serendipity is extremely comfortable for the two of us to live on and there have rarely been times we’ve found ourselves saying “If only we had a different boat for one reason or another”.  To sail another few years on her in the Caribbean would be as simple as snapping our fingers.  She’s in perfect condition, there’s no work that needs to be done, we could go now and not think twice about it.

 

Second: Daze Off.  That boat, that hunk of metal, the money pit, and so many other names we’ve been affectionately referring to her as lately. The boat that we purchased sight unseen, without a survey, and traveled back across one healthy body of water to get to.  Not only is there a lot of time and money in our future going toward this particular boat, but there are so many unknowns!

Take the hull and keel for example.  Upon purchase we knew there were two definite holes from corrosion that would need to be welded.  Ok, we can handle that.  Although now we’ve been here a few weeks and have had more chances for closer inspection, we’ve found a few more, just adding to the fun.  Now we wonder how many more corrosion issues are hiding where we can’t see them and if we’ll get smacked with a huge bill from the welder as he starts the work.  How much will just this issue cost us?  $5,000?  $10,000?  We have no idea, and to be honest it’s kind of scary to pursue any further without that knowledge.

But let’s say that part all goes swimmingly and the only thing we have to worry about is refitting a boat.  It’s still refitting a boat…inside out and top to bottom.  We arrived with the notion that this whole rebuild would only take us 6-9 months, but now we’re looking at all the work and extending that further and further out.  12 months?  Maybe 18? It’s all such foreign territory to us.

Even if the welding and the time frame didn’t deter us…there’s the cost. Don’t get me wrong, if and when we fix up this boat it’s going to be done right.  The interior will be all new and very modern looking.  White wainscoting on the walls, cherry cabinets, and maybe maple for the sole.  There will be new recessed lights, fixtures, cushions, fabric…everything.  Plus the exterior will be outfitted with all new electronics and we’ll get even further into the digital world for all of our technology.  This boat’s gonna be plush. Pimp.  Whatever you want to call it, she gonna be lookin’ hella good when she’s done.

All of this comes at a cost though and although we’ll be doing all of the work ourselves (besides the welding), plus we know how to scour the internet for days and weeks if need be for good deals, it does all add up. The real question is, how much will it be at the end?  Will we have wasted a year of our time and the rest of our cruising kitty on a boat that is indeed beautiful, but now we either can’t afford to keep her or have to limit our remaining cruising time to 6-12 months because that’s all we’ll have left in the bank account?  We don’t know.  We hope it doesn’t come down to that and we don’t *think* it will, but again, we can’t be certain of it at this moment.

 

I’ve gone as far as to post this conundrum on my personal Facebook page and ask for my friend’s advice.  9 out of 10 people told us to get the heck out of dodge with Serendipity.  “You have a perfectly good boat, why get rid of her?”  “Refitting a boat is so much harder than you ever imagine it will be.” “Get back down to the Caribbean and hang out with me instead of working on a boat in Florida.”  Ok, that last one may have been biased and based on personal friendships instead of boats, but you get the idea.  Everyone is telling us to take the perfectly good boat and run.

So what will it be?  Honestly, I am 100% confused and undecided at the moment.  I’ve begun looking at marinas in Puerto Rico and it’s outlying cities that we can quickly get ourselves down to in time for hurricane season.  Then I think to all the possibilities Daze Off has and daydream about what a cruising life on her would be like.  Shortly after, I begin reading my guide books on the Eastern Caribbean and think of all the islands we haven’t seen yet that could be checked off in the next 9 months…only to revert to how much further we could travel in Daze Off. Getting to the Baltic Sea and tying up in Copenhagen or exploring the fjords of Norway. This boat could take us anywhere!

This is a decision we really need to make soon, but both of us are so incredibly torn. What’s logical and what’s right?  Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to this question.

 

*Editors note: Since this post is being published two months after the fact….you probably already know the route we chose.

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